45th Viennale

Austria, October 19 - October 31 2007

The jury

Andrei Plakhov (Russia), Jurij Meden (Slovenia), Erika Koriska (), Michel Ciment (France)

Awarded films

The Viennale can be seen as one of the most important European events concerning cinema. The festival prefers to give a second chance to a number of works that were overlooked amidst the orgiastic programming of the leading festivals, and offers as well the local population a chance to see some of the major achievements of the year. Among the fifteen films offered for consideration to the FIPRESCI Jury, three stood out. Besides Shotgun Stories which won the FIPRESCI prize, the Chinese film How is your fish today? (Jin Tian de yu ze me yong?) by Guo Xiao-lu and Profit Motive and the Whispering Wind by John Gianvito.

The Viennale also shows the state of documentary today and some retrospectives, tracing back the history of the film essay, from Dziga Vertov, Humphrey Jennings and Leo Hurwitz to Chris Marker, Chantal Akerman, Jean-Luc Godard, to the program “Der Weg der Termiten” (The Termites’ March), referring to Manny Farber’s famous essay where the American critic extolled the termite art of the B movies directed by Antony Mann, Samuel Fuller, Jacques Tourneur and others in the late forties, at the expense of the ‘white elephant art’ of George Stevens, William Wyler and Billy Wilder praised by the Hollywood establishment. Reminding us that Vienna has been one of the most active centers of avant-garde art, cinema and literature since the Secession — and it proved to be more than a local event with nearly 92,000 visitors at this year’s edition which presented 321 screenings, among them 126 screenings were sold out. The guest of honor was American actress Jane Fonda. (Michel Ciment)